CARACAS, Monday January 28, 2013 | Update

Venezuela's poverty decline regarded as fragile

Experts assert that reported drop in poverty relies on oil income

Venezuela’s extreme poverty and non-extreme poverty stand at 6.97% and 21.64% respectively, found a 2011 census (Photo: Nicola Rocco)
Monday January 28, 2013  11:41 AM
Over the past 14 years, Venezuela's National Statistics Institute (INE) has reported a reduction in poverty based on income and unmet basic needs. Such a decline is associated with governmental policies aimed at distributing oil revenues among citizens.

To some experts, social investment is not the point at issue. What really matters is that oil revenues seem not to be utilized as appropriate.

"Distributing oil revenues in a way that citizens can make use of could result in temporary well-being, yet in the event that such income plummets, so will the current well-being we have enjoyed," says Henke García, director of consultancy firm Econométrica.

Without taking social support aside, García remarks, it is necessary to use oil resources for the development of infrastructure, education, health, and public utilities. Such an investment not only meets people's basic needs, but also leads to sustainable well-being.

Based on the Population and Housing Census 2011, Venezuela's critical poverty accounted for 6.97% in 2011 versus 11.36% in 2001. Non-critical poverty slipped from 21.64% in 2001 to 17.60% in 2011.

Economist Ronald Balza trusts the official results, yet he warns that the drop in poverty is associated with the oil boom, therefore "it could be fragile."

Translated by Jhean Cabrera
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